Farmers and crofters could face serious penalties if they don’t pay closer attention to how they manage workplace risk, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned.
The agency made the warning as it prepares to embark on a programme of farm inspections across the country to review health and safety standards.
It said the inspections, which will begin soon, will check whether those responsible for protecting themselves and workers are doing the right things to comply with the law and prevent death, injury and ill-health.
They follow a series of compliance events that were developed to change behaviours in the industry and to help farmers understand how to comply with health and safety law.
HSE said it would not hesitate to use enforcement to bring about improvements to safety on farms.
The agency’s acting head of agriculture, Andrew Turner, said agriculture has the poorest health and safety record of any industry in Britain and the latest figures show 39 people were killed in agriculture in Britain in 2018/19.
This is around 18 times higher than the all industry fatal injury rate.
“We are seeing signs of a change in attitude across the farming industry and while this is encouraging, these inspections act as a reminder to farmers of the importance of managing risks so that everyone can go home healthy and safe from work,” added Mr Turner.
He said inspectors visiting farms and crofts would be checking that risks are being controlled in specific areas including machinery, falls from height, children and livestock.
“Everyone involved in farming has a role to play,” added Mr Turner.
“Those working in the industry need to understand the risks they face and the simple ways they can be managed. Those that work with the industry can be part of the change that is so badly needed.
“Farmers, managers and workers are reminded that death, injuries and cases of ill-health are not an inevitable part of farming.”